- In a food processor bowl equipped with a flat beater, add the four, honey, crumbled yeast, lemon zest, vanilla powder and 3 eggs.
- Mix at medium speed until the dough disengages from the sides of the bowl.
- Add 3 more eggs.
- Mix as above.
- Add the 2 remaining eggs and mix for 10 minutes. Now gradually add the butter, divided into small cubes, and the fleur de sel, without stopping the processor.
- When the dough is smooth and supple, pour it into a bowl.
- Let it rise for 30 minutes at room temperature.
- Baste a 26cm ring mould with butter.
- Transfer the dough into a pouch and fill the mould to the half of its height. Let the dough rise at room temperature until it rises to the edges of the mould.
- Slide the mould into a rotating heat oven preheated to 200°C and let cook for 30 minutes.
- Take out of the oven, turn out of the moulds onto a rack and let cool.
- Put the water, sugar, lemon and orange zests, the banana puree along with the vanilla bean that has been cracked in two and scraped of its beans, into a saucepan.
- Bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and pour in the rum.
- Let the syrup cool to 60°C.
- Keep the cream refrigerated at 4°C prior to use.
- Using a whisk, a beater or in a mixing bowl, whip the cream (at medium speed, if possible) until it is fluffy and starts to thicken.
- Add the sugar in a continuous, thin stream and keep beating until peaks of the desired consistency – soft, somewhat firm, or very firm – form.
- Use immediately.
Saturation, assembly and finishing
- Place the pastry rack with the baba on top of a bowl of the same size.
- Drench with syrup ten times in a row, using a ladle.
- Make sure the baba is fully drenched by delicately inserting the blade of a knife.
- The blade should not encounter resistance.
- Sprinkle the baba with rum.
- Mix the apricot jam and bring it to a boil. Brush the baba with the boiling jam.
- Garnish the inside of the ring with Chantilly cream and serve.
Suggestions from Pierre Hermé
After the baba is removed from the oven, I prefer to leave it uncovered for 2 or 3 days so it can get stale. This way, the babais much more absorbent and becomes completely suffused with the lukewarm syrup.
- Garnish the baba with cinnamon or chocolate Chantilly cream.
- Then, sprinkle the cream with whole red fruit or cubed exotic fruit.
“I like to substitute an Armagnac, or a Marc de Provence, or a white rum and passionfruit juice syrup, for the dark agricultural rum. I garnish the baba with pieces of mango and kiwi mixed with a mango coulis.
I also like to serve it simply with plain Chantilly cream, and I serve it with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.”